Suffolk is one of Britain’s ancient counties, largely untouched by the industrial revolution and featuring spectacularly preserved medieval villages like Lavenham and a heritage coast dotted with pretty seaside towns, heathland nature reserves and unspoilt sandy beaches.
Two of Britain’s most famous painters, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough, herald from Suffolk. Constable was born in the Suffolk village of East Bergholt and Constable Country around Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley remains much as it was in Constable’s day. Gainsborough was born in beautiful market town Sudbury where his birthplace home is now a museum.
The two large Suffolk towns of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich both contain a breathtaking array of historic buildings from the Abbey ruins, cathedral and Norman tower in Bury St Edmunds to the stunning Tudor Christchurch Mansion, Ancient House and heritage waterfront in Ipswich. Suffolk is also home to world centre for horse racing Newmarket with its two historic racecourses, a National Stud and the National Horseracing Museum. On the northern edge of the county sit the peaceful Southern Broads with main centres at Oulton, Beccles and Bungay.
The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB stretches from Kessingland in the north to the Stour estuary in the south. Spectacular coastal features along this heritage coastline include Europe’s largest shingle spit Orford Ness and the Suffolk heaths and beach at Dunwich. Seaside gems Southwold and Aldeburgh are popular holiday bases, with premier attractions including an award winning pier and the Adnams Brewery at Southwold and the world famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall just outside Aldeburgh, host venue for the internationally acclaimed Aldeburgh Music Festival founded by British composer Benjamin Britten.
Lowestoft on the Suffolk Sunrise Coast is the region’s top spot for family seaside holidays with its Blue Flag golden sandy beach, two piers and marina. Popular family attractions just a few minutes’ drive from Lowestoft include Pleasurewood Hills theme park and Africa Alive wildlife park. More Blue Flag beaches and family seaside fun feature around great value Felixstowe with its choice of holiday parks.
Picturesque riverside towns like Woodbridge with its beautiful quayside alongside the River Deben sit just inland from the coast and famous heritage sites nearby include the magnificent remains of Framlingham Castle once owned by Mary Queen of Scots and the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial site where in recent times Britain’s most treasured Anglo-Saxon finds have been unearthed.
Top attractions in the region include the family friendly Museum of East Anglian Life at Stowmarket exploring Suffolk’s rural heritage in a fun interactive way for children. Great craft fayres take place here in the heart of one of Suffolk’s best areas for crafts and local produce.
If Aldeburgh is a centre for classical music in Britain, then nearby Halesworth is fast becoming a literary and arts hub. This historic Suffolk market town with fine old inns, antiques and craft shops contains the champion of new playwrights – The High Tide Festival Theatre and hosts the annual acclaimed High Tide Festival.